This is a guest post by Mariana Ashley.
Career fairs provide excellent networking opportunities for young and experienced professionals. Held on most campuses in the spring, and at various venues year round, these fairs give employers a chance to speak with city residents and students on campus about employment opportunities and employer needs. Most of the time, you can also ask recruiters questions pertaining to your particular skill set and interests. If you are unemployed or just searching for a different career path, you should sign up for one today. You can find career fairs by city here. In order to get the most out of one of these events, you should plan ahead and research companies in advance.
Research Employers from the List of Attendees
Once you sign up (sometimes before), career fair sponsors post the list of employers planning to attend the career fair. Do some research on the companies and the positions they’re posting on their employment pages. What type of jobs do they have on their website? What educational requirements do they have for their staff? Is this a company you would be interested in working for? Narrow the list of exhibiting employers down to 10-15 booths /recruiters you would like to speak to at the fair. It may be a good idea to write down the jobs you would like to pursue for each company or organization. You can also start your meeting with the recruiter by asking “What positions are you recruiting for today?” Employers will be impressed that you’ve done your research.
Dress up Your Resume – and Yourself
After you’ve narrowed down your list of jobs and employers, you’ll need to edit your resume. It’s a good idea to place experience and skills that pertain to particular jobs at the beginning of your resume. For example, if a job requires marketing experience, be sure to put your marketing skills and work experience high up on the first page. This will make you a more attractive candidate.
Dress professionally at the career fair. First impressions are important, so you should dress as though you were employed, not as you have been as a student or while you were out of work.
Follow-Up with Recruiters or Human Resources Representatives
Company representatives may give you business cards and contact information at the career fair. They will also recommend that you apply online for jobs. If you are interested in working with them, send them a follow up email the next day. Let him/her know you enjoyed meeting them, and express your interest in the opportunity you discussed. This will show you are really interested in working for the company.
Mariana Ashley is a freelance writer who writes about online colleges. She loves receiving reader feedback, which can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.